Voluntourism is a new way of traveling that is becoming increasing popular around the world. Voluntourism is when people volunteer overseas while they travel. It is similar to “eco-tourism” in a way, because the objective of improving lives is still present. But unlike eco-tourism, voluntourism is aimed at helping other people rather than helping the environment. Voluntourism involves tourists going on vacation or rather, missions to help out on a particular project.
This volunteer work overseas entails not only the duties a volunteer will do, but it is also gives a chance for tourists to discover new treks, experience a foreign culture, and learn more about people in other countries. The time spent becomes an exciting and fulfilling vacation because you get to immerse yourself in another world while helping out those in need.
Doing voluntary work overseas is very different from the typical idea of a “relaxing” or “sightseeing” vacation which is in fact very artificial and does not allow you to really engage with the people in the country you are visiting and to form relationships with them as other human beings. In a sense, that sort of trip is more like taking a long trip to a human zoo to look at people and things rather than to live and be with them as one people.
Volunteer travel is a lot more sustainable as well because it deviates from the typical indulgent vacation. In voluntourism, you get to be responsible for the growth and change of others which is an experience unlike any other. This makes your trip to another country worth so much more than just “having fun” the whole time.
One thing that is clear is that going abroad and giving money and gifts to strangers, even if you do it from a place of love and with the best intentions, may not actually be helping them.
Ultimately, volunteering abroad is a rewarding, worthwhile activity. Your hard work and dedication in making a change in the world will touch lives – not least, your own.